Miyake (屯倉)

Miyake is one of Yamato regime's ruling systems. Miyake also means directly controlled lands located across Japan, and is believed to be a predecessor of Japan's local bureaucratic system.


The word 'Miyake' was used in the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan).
To describe 'Miyake' in Japanese kanji, '屯家,' '御宅,' '三宅,' and '三家' were used in the Japan's ancient historical books such as the "Kojiki" and the "Fudoki" to describe 'Miyake.'

Miyake's 'Mi' means honorific, and 'yake' represents 'houses;' in this case the word is used to mean Yamato government's storages located in its regional domains. Miyake' includes lands directly managed by the Yamato government.

Whether the Yamato government directly managed or not, it imposed taxes on all Miyakes. From one era to another, the characteristics of Miyake seem to have changed, but the details are not known.

Miyake was abolished at the time of the Taika Reforms.

Miyake management

There were a variety of management methods and labor forces.

The management method of Miyake progressed along with the development of tumulus, and its history is generally divided into earlier and later periods around the 5th Century A.D.

Before Kenzo and Ninken dynasty, earlier Miyakes are believed to have emerged only in and around Kinai region, provinces adjacent to Kyoto and Nara. For example, the "Kiki" ("Nihonshoki" and "Kojiki") refers to Miyakes in 'Yamato,' 'Mamuta,' 'Yosami,' and 'Awaji,' while the "Harimakoku Fudoki" mentions those in 'Shikama Sakoku,' and Shijimi Miyake is found in both books.

These miyakes were developed and run by the great king of the Yamato Sovereignty. For example, the "Kiki" says the great kings of Suinin and Keiko dynasties were personally involved in the process of establishing Yamato miyake in the area believed to be the surrounding area of today's Miyake-cho, Shiki-gun, Nara Prefecture. They built storages called 'miyake' on a slightly elevated area, and developed and cultivated arable lands called 'Yamato-no-miyake' in low-humidity areas. These miyakes were believed to be built around the 5th Century A.D. They also built Yosami no Miyake in the area stretching from Abiko-cho, Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City to Matsubara City where they constructed Yosami no ike-Pond and irrigation facilities.

Miyakes were owned and directly managed by the royal family. Awaji no Miyake built in the Chuai Dynasty had a hunting ground instead of a farm land. Imperial subjects such as fishermen and hunters paid their customs by offering their catches to the imperial household. Shijimi no Miyake of Harima, believed to have lied along the upper Kako River (today's Miki City), was managed by Oshimumibe no Miyatsukohosome.

[Original Japanese]